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Media Watch: England international linked with return, Ferdinand lauds youngster, Cole makes generous contribution to NHS charity

In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, there is speculation of a former Chelsea youngster coming back to Stamford Bridge and Joe Cole gives his support to those on the frontlines of the Covid-19 crisis.

These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.

Rice to return to Chelsea?

Sky Sports reports Chelsea are interested in signing former Academy midfielder Declan Rice, who was released by the club at youth level before breaking through at West Ham United.

The 21-year-old has gone on to become an England international and been linked previously with a move to Manchester United.

However, Sky believes the Blues are keen to strengthen with a defensive midfielder and could re-sign Rice, who remains a close friend of Mason Mount, if the transfer window goes ahead this summer.

‘Rice has been a consistent figure for West Ham and bagged two assists in 29 Premier League appearances before football was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic,’ states the report.

‘He would not come cheap, with four years left on his West Ham contract and the option of a further year's extension.

‘Chelsea were in the market for a new young defensive midfielder in January and were among the clubs interested in Boubakary Soumare, but the young Frenchman opted to stay at Lille.

‘It remains uncertain whether the UK transfer window will open as scheduled on May 18, with no definitive date set for when the current domestic season will be resumed amid a global health crisis.’


James named as one of league’s top youngsters

According to the Mirror, former England defender Rio Ferdinand has named Reece James as one of the Premier League’s top young players, praising the 20-year-old’s versatility, temperament and physicality.

Asked to list the league’s top five youngsters, Ferdinand included James on his shortlist of five, which also included Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool, Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal, Phil Foden of Manchester City and Mason Greenwood of Manchester United.

‘I like this kid,’ said Ferdinand of James. ‘With his crossing he puts teams under pressure, he wants to hurt the opposing team and make you face your own goal.

‘He's got so much growth in his game. He is versatile - he's played centre-half for Wigan, he can play right-back, even in centre midfield.

‘Plus he looks like he's got a great temperament which is huge and physically he is like a middleweight boxer - he's strong, solid, quick and aggressive.

‘I think he'll become a mainstay in that team.’


Cole gives support to NHS charity

The Evening Standard reports Joe Cole has donated £25,000 to a charity supporting NHS staff throughout the United Kingdom, describing their work in the battle against Covid-19 as ‘unbelievable’.

The former Blues midfielder made his contribution and announced he has become an ambassador of the charity 'Heroes' as he voiced his support for those on the frontline in the fight against the rapidly-spreading disease.

‘The men and women are really digging in for us at the moment in very, very difficult circumstances,’ said Cole of the charity and the NHS professionals it supports.

‘Heroes is a fundraiser primarily that will help deliver fresh meals to the workers after they finish their shifts or before they finish their shifts, help with childcare so they can stay at work, psychological help from experts being called into the field, all sorts of things that we the British public can help with.

‘I feel like this is a call of our generation. We need to stick together and these people who are doing what they are doing in hospitals up and down the country it is unbelievable.

‘By donating or offering your business at some point, everything that can be given will be used on the frontline. If you can give, please [do] and just take a look.’

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